Supplements for Management of Stress and Bruxism
Many factors are thought to increase the risk of one developing bruxism with mental stress identified as the leading cause, with over 70% of the cases associated with mental stress (Monika & Jens, 2018). Therefore, by successfully managing mental stress, we can reduce the number of people having this disturbing condition.
In this article, I outline the various ways to help reduce mental stress as a way of managing and preventing bruxism. Of particular interest is the role of dietary supplements in stress management and the overall effect that they have on people with bruxism.
Magnesium plays a crucial role in many physiological functions. It is responsible for the proper function of the nervous, muscular, immune, and hematological systems. Magnesium can be obtained from foods such as spinach, almonds, and cashew nuts. However, many people do not get enough magnesium in their diet hence necessitating the need for magnesium supplementation.
Magnesium promotes both mental and physical relaxation; thus its deficiency can cause conditions such as anxiety, irritability, depression, insomnia, and hyperactivity. The mineral plays a vital role in the regulation of stress hormones in the body. Due to these roles, especially in the central nervous system, magnesium supplementation has been found to be an effective antidepressant. Reduced mental stress due to adequate magnesium levels, in turn, reduces the risk of bruxism behavior (Chisini et al., 2020).
The recommended daily dose of chelated magnesium is 600mg and should be taken before bedtime. The dose should be reduced to 300mg if side effects start manifesting. Such side effects include diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach upsets.
Vitamin C and B- complex vitamins are useful in the management of psychological stress. The exact mechanism of action is unknown, but some studies suggest that Vitamin C plays a role in the regulation of adrenal functions that affect the body's response to stress. Vitamin C also has a role in the formation of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that regulates our mood and prevents the development of various mental illnesses.
Mental illnesses, especially sleep disorders, are associated with increased risk bruxism. B-complex vitamins are also associated with improved mental functions and mood (Shahpaska, 2019).
Therefore, deficiency of these essential vitamins can lead to increased risk of psychological stress, which in turn can contribute to an increase bruxism behavior (Shahpaska, 2019).
Enough amounts of these vitamins can be obtained in our diets with fruits such as oranges and kiwis which contain high amounts of vitamin C. Alternatively, supplements containing these vitamins can be taken.
Gamma-Amino-Butyric Acid (GABA)
GABA is an amino acid that acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. It inhibits various signals in the brain hence decreasing the brain's activity and, in turn, promoting a relaxed state of mind and reduced psychological stresses. GABA supplements can, therefore, be used to manage anxiety, attention deficit and hyperactive disorder (ADHD), and to improve one's mood (Mathews & Epperson, 2017)
Despite the limited evidence of GABA supplements' oral use, it has been found to promote mental relaxation and reduction of psychological stresses. GABA supplements are not sedative and can be taken during the day. The recommended dose of GABA is 500mg for up to three times a day. It should only be taken when needed, as in times of stress. Food has been found to interfere with its absorption. Therefore, the GABA should be taken on an empty stomach.
Other supplements that can be used in the prevention of mental stress and bruxism includes Valerian root, an herbal drug used in the management of insomnia, anxiety, and stress, tryptophan, commonly found in milk, and L-theanine, an amino acid used in the management of anxiety and hypertension (Shahpaska, 2019).